Tag Archives: Tough Mudder

This Orange Headband Is My Orange Headband, or Relfections in a Muddy Eye

Tough-Mudder-2013-race-bib-No.-66304-writing

Some poor guy died. Hey, check out my awesome photos from the race!

I’ve waited a few days to write about my experience running the Tough Mudder last Saturday, both because I’ve had a busy week and because I didn’t — don’t — know how to address the fact that someone, a guy substantially younger than me named Avishek Sengupta, drowned during the event. Obviously, that’s a tragedy. I hope his family and friends will find some respite from their grief.

My teammates and I were all Mudder first-timers who regarded the race with intimidation and did our best to prepare for it. We joked with one another about signing the mandatory participant waiver, cheekily referred to as the DEATH WAIVER on the Tough Mudder website. But you don’t think much of it. Walk into any gym and they’ll probably make you sign something before they let you near a treadmill. And anyway you’re more likely to buy it in a car accident on your way to the race than you are while participating in it. Aren’t you?

The arduousness of the race is the Tough Mudder’s main selling point. It’s the Fight Club scenario. There are a lot white-collar shlubs like me, people of some means and privilege (I paid $161 to register) who sit staring at computers all day but would like to think of ourselves as physically hardy. Crossing a Tough Mudder finish line earns you bragging rights, plus a sporty orange headband and a free beer. (“You look like the bad guy in an 80s movie set at a ski resort,” my friend Liz told me when I showed up for a drinking session the day after the race in my hard-won headband. I regret nothing.) Continue reading

“It’s not an S. On my world, it means hope.”

Muddy BuddiesThis photo is from August 15, 2004. My race-partner Steph — HI, STEPH! — and I are competing in the Muddy Buddy running/biking relay race in San Dimas, CA, home of Bill & Ted.

I dug it up because at this time tomorrow I’ll be — I hope — more than halfway through the Tough Mudder, a 10-12 mile military-style obstacle course designed to be a physical and mental trial for all comers, no matter how fit and/or nuts they are. The Muddy Buddy is not all that similar: It’s only half as long as the Tough Mudder, and you’re not made to swim in icy water (they refresh the ice frequently to prevent the water from reaching a comfortable temperature) or run through a lattice of 10,000-volt live wires. (I’m not exaggerating. You can read about the Tough Mudder obstacles here.) But of the races I’ve done, mostly 10ks and 10-milers and half-marathons, it’s the one that most resembles the Mudder.

I’m starting to get nervous.
Continue reading